About Me

My photo
Victoria, Australia
I am an author of Young Adult Fiction books. I worked as a teacher in the Pacific Islands for seven years. Whilst in the Solomon Islands I taught PSSC English before the ethnic tension in 2000 forced a change of plans. I love Pacific literature, art and music. You can find me on Facebook at Beth Montgomery Author.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Sea on our Skin by Madeleine Tobert

The Sea on Our Skin
(Two Roads, 2012)
This is the story of a violent man, Ioane, who marries a girl named Amalia on a remote island somewhere in the Pacific (but quite like Fiji). The book has the feel of a fable as the characters are in many ways unreal. This is especially the case of the old man in the canoe and the co-joined twins who are different genders. This quality doesn't detract from the story, however. If anything it enhances it.
   Ioane beats his wife and leaves the island only to return years later. He repeats this strange behaviour over and over, and throughout this time Amalia bears him five children. Each has a clearly defined personality and each is affected by their father's treatment of their mother.
   Eventually Amalia fights back and Ioane's life is changed forever. But his need to escape the island has been imprinted on one of his sons. And so the need for travel conflicts once again with the love for home in the next generation.
   I loved this book because of it's fairy-tale qualities, it's haunting commentary on relationships and death and the way the characters are bound to the sea. Tobert comments on the ocean in some way on every page, but the result isn't repetitious, it's beautiful.

No comments:

Post a Comment